How College Students Can Earn Money by Crafting

College students who are crafty have the potential to earn money with their creations. We've discussed how in this article, with recommendations on starting your own crafting business.

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Earn Money by Crafting

We all have our hobbies. In fact, what we do for fun takes up so much of our time that many of us wonder why we have a 9-5 office job. There must be a way to make a living doing what you love, right? Etsy.com is a website dedicated to selling crafty items made by artists like you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10,600 craft artists in 2014. Could you be an artist who makes crafting your career?

Etsy.com

Based in Brooklyn (with offices around the world, including in San Francisco, Berlin and Hudson, NY), Etsy.com allows crafters to sell their wares on the Internet. The original premise for the site was 'craft show meets eBay.' You'll have your own storefront, where images of all your products are displayed. Also on your site is feedback, recent sales and links to your favorite items on Etsy.com (support goes both ways). Not only can you register for free, but as of March 2016, it only costs $0.20 to list an item! A small 3.5% fee for each item sold is charged to you for Etsy.com maintenance.

Are You Ready?

If you're in college, you have the perfect opportunity to see if Etsy.com can turn your hobby into a career. A full-time job isn't likely a priority, so you'll have the freedom to play around and see what works. During this time, you can set up your storefront and build up your warehouse (so to speak).

The number one thing you'll need to be successful (besides a product) is dedication. Yes, you must have talent to create crafts, but this will no longer be a hobby. So, be prepared to treat this hobby like work. Until you have a strong client base (or, dare to dream, make it big), expect to put in 40 hours each week. In fact, anticipate putting in even more hours than that. Remember, the more products you have, the better odds you'll have to sell.

What Will You Sell?

Let's be honest, crafting can be pricey. Plastic bead necklaces don't sell as well as earrings with Swarovski crystals. But while in college, supplies for jewelry and necklaces can be added costs that you just don't have. So, what can you make that would benefit your clients and not cost you a fortune?

Vintage

The truth is, antique/vintage items are considered anything over 20 years old by Etsy.com. In fact, retro is very big in home decorating, clothing and design. If you have a little start-up money and you love to shop at thrift stores and consignment shops, this could be your angle.

Clothing that needs patching or buttons replaced can turn into beautiful pieces that customers would love to own. With a little elbow grease, you could polish pewter home items, repaint furniture or repair broken mechanics. If you intend to shop, you must be knowledgeable in authentic pieces versus modern replicas.

Drawings/Painting

Once again, there are some start-up costs required for art supplies if you want to sell artwork. However, if you're an art student, you likely already own all you need (and maybe a grant or scholarship covered it, shhh!). If you have an eye for color, you could always do some cutting and pasting to create one-of-a-kind collages. Paper scraps from class, old magazines and fabric swatches can be turned into animals, people or cityscapes for clients' walls.

Recycled Products

No, this doesn't mean selling other artists' work after you've bought it. We're talking going green. Many stores are now selling fabric bags that can be reused and cut down the need for plastic bags. But what do you do with all of those colorful plastic bags that are already out there? With a little ingenuity, those bags can be stripped, twisted and made into thick or thin materials. Crochet with these strips to create dinner mats, purses, collages (see? You can use anything!), accessories, jewelry, cases (for anything from makeup to cameras) or even a designer reusable grocery bag!

Of course, bags are not the only recycled items out there. You can use cans from canned goods to create chimes, watering cans, jewelry, lamps, planters, candle holders and vases! Just be sure to be careful with the tin snippers and the sharp can edges! With recycled glass, you can create mosaics, lamps, spoon rests, chandeliers or birdfeeders.

Wedding Items

Good with beads? Yes, this one costs a little to begin, but the returns can be very high. With feathers, crystals, beads, ribbons and lace you can create beautiful veils or garters that brides will pay good prices for. On her special day, when a bride likes to feel extraordinary and unique, one-of-a-kind items are likely to be splurged on. If you have a good repertoire, you could even offer that your services be commissioned for a once-in-a-lifetime piece.

Cards

Another option for the art-inclined is to create greeting cards for customers. Personalized cards or stationary can be a good gift for special occasions, young girls or just for yourself. Prints, glitter, stamps and cutouts can create elegant and creative cards that people are likely to want. Maybe you could cross-over categories and create wedding invitations (talk about a big sale).

Driftwood Items

If you live near a beach, you can use one of nature's beautiful creations to make your creation! Help keep your beach clean by gathering pieces of driftwood that float to shore after cold winters and strong storms. Use these pieces of driftwood to create jewelry, boxes, pens, furniture, lamps and decorative pieces. If you know how to carve, you can spend your time whittling little figurines. The bonus? Driftwood tends to be light so it'll reduce shipping costs!

If you're looking to earn some extra cash over the summer, you might want to consider getting a paid internship.

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